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BBC Newsnight

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00:30:00

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U.n. 21, China 8, Sri Lanka 5, Us 4, Spain 4, Madrid 3, New York 3, United Nations 3, Newman 2, Stowe 2, Vermont 2, Honolulu 2, Union Bank 2, Taiwan 1, Libya 1, Pensioners 1, Beatrice 1, Daschle 1, Gaddafi 1, Beijing 1,
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  PBS    BBC Newsnight    News/Business.  (Stereo)  

    November 17, 2012
    5:00 - 5:30am EST  

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>> this is bbc newsnight. funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard -- to guide you through the business strategies and
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opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? it is the world's most populated country. is it soon to become the richest? the future of china. >> they have just one choice, reform. otherwise they and china will be in big trouble. >> thousands were killed in the last month of tishri wanted war. -- of the shoreline of -- sri lanka war. >> we had a hunger strike and after they left, things became bad. >> strikes across europe, hundred of thousands protesting
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austerity and cuts. >> this is just a gathering storm. we will see worse in the coming years. hello. the man who will lead the most populous country was confirmed this week. he and a committee of six were 1.6 billion china's souls in the next decade, all of whom have big expectations, though our rent, bigger pensions, and many of them also desire more personal and political freedom. but will this be less corrupt, expansionist? well social media become unstoppable engine of change? we would ask the changing of the guard -- we witnessed the changing of the guard. >> 1/6 of the human race is
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governed by a party determined to cling to power and to go on playing the old tunes. hi. thank you. resolution of the 18th congress of the communist party. thanks. at this session, they are amending the party constitution. the man on the left is having his own personal theory added to that of his predecessor on his right. i tagged along with a party member, a press reporter, to find out what it means. what is important to your readers about all this? >> we are very concerned about the transition of power.
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not really too much about what is in the constitution. >> but the readers want to know who is who? >> yes, definitely. >> the man in the middle is the incoming leader, and he represents business and a new elite and the needs of workers, and the middle-class. still, why is the old guard leader right there? it is to symbolize stability among the new leadership', or is he there to symbolize their will not be rapid change? maybe nobody knows the answer.
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with the conference over, the real decision making is about to begin. the party carefully recruits from all over china, workers and middle class, at that minorities. as the delegates disperse, behind the scenes they are picking the team that will lead china, and that is where the struggle is going on. meanwhile, all over beijing, the old guard is out. volunteers security people, many of them elderly. >> if we find any kind of situation, any special situation, would give the local leaders a call straight away and the police and somebody will come. >> even here they are where the party has to deliver more. >> i'm concerned about housing. ordinary people's livelihoods, salaries, pensions, and social order. these are the things i pay
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attention to. here, this street is peaceful. this street is called a peace and quiet avenue. i'm worried about rest. rich guy more about rent because it is difficult to rent homes. -- i am worried about rent because it is difficult to rent homes. >> on a street corner, under a big screen, it is not exactly masses of people who have come out to see who has been chosen. essentially, to a hall full of international journalists, the new committee emerges. the president and the prime minister. of the rest, there is only one clear ally from the old regime, and three are hardliners. this is the equivalent of a presidential election in a country five times bigger than the united states. it has only happened peacefully
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twice in the modern history of this country, and the reaction of the streets is? you could say not ecstatic. potentially, we found some people who were interested. hello. what do you think of the election? >> i think he will do a good job to help china get more stronger. >> what is the number-one thing that you want him to do? >> i think maybe increase our salary. >> what is the number-one problem you want them to address? >> i feel the main problem is civil administration. another thing he needs to solve
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is the problem of taiwan and the disputed islands. >> i like him. he is good for the country is the short translation. and life goes on. thank you. to them, and 1.4 billion like them, the new leader had this message. >> under the new conditions, our party faces many severe challenges and there are also many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption, been divorced from the people, going through formalities of bureaucracy. >> the party knows that corruption could strangle innovation and ultimately harmful economic growth. it knows that essentially growth will have to come from more consumption and a richer middle- class. it knows behind the apathy,
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there is discontent. >> in the past year, chinese using the french revolution. people are worried that china will have a revolution, but we don't want that. for this new leadership, i have just one choice, reform. otherwise they enchant will be in big trouble -- otherwise they and china will be in big trouble. >> what should concentrate on politics? >> politics, and economics. the space for further growth is limited. what we need to solve now are the political problems. >> for ordinary people with no say on the outcome this week, it is a case of dodging and weaving, surviving. they will wait and see what a new set of people in power can bring.
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a united nations report says the u.n. was responsible for a great failure to protect civilians in the final stage of sri lanka's civil war. it said that senior staff did not see it as their responsibility to prevent killings. the u.n. estimated at least 40,000 were killed in the final months of the conflict. >> it had been one of the world's longest running and bloodiest civil wars. in may 2009, a quarter-century of battle ended on the shores of this indian ocean island. government forces crushed the last of the tamil tigers. they had fort -- and had fought
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for a state in the north. now, all rebel leaders were dead. so where tens of thousands of civilians. in the years since then, the united nations and others have found that abuse by both sides and possible war crimes and now i have investigated itself for its own conduct during the last approval months of war. we have been given a copy of their internal report in its final stages. it found the united nations did not stand up to the very people that it should have -- stand up for the very people it should have protected. the report says this marks a great failure of the u.n. to respond to early warnings and the evolving situation, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians. many senior u.n. staff simply did not perceive the prevention of killing of civilians as their
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responsibility. they were not being instructed to do otherwise from new york. the u.n. did not keep member states or the public fully informed. a systemic failure of that should not have happened again. but how that happened here? september 2008. the government launched its final assault in the north. there were no u.n. peacekeepers on this mission. as fighting intensified, the government warned u.n. aid workers that it cannot guarantee their safety. the report says the u.n. never questioned the government's warning and their departure had a severe impact on stability to provide aid and protect civilians. benjamin was part of the team told to leave. >> i believe that we should have gone further north, not
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evacuated and abandon this population without protection or witness. >> how did it feel on the ground? >> as a humanitarian worker, questions running through my mind, what is this about? isn't this what we signed up to do? we're here to protect and see things. and then having to drop out, wearing a helmet and flak jacket, all the protection we had because we are was -- i have's, never been so ashamed of the color of my skin. >> they were left outside of the compound, begging them not to go. i met a woman who was there that day, a schoolteacher now seeking asylum in britain. she asked us not to disclose her identity. >> we even organized a hunger strike, pleading them not to leave and to save us.
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but after they left, things became very bad. so many people died along the road. so many people died because of that. >> in the brutal and game, hundreds of civilians were trapped, and used as pawns by both sides. tigers recruit them or use them as human shields. by this time, fighting focused on a small area at around the towns. the government designated so- called no fire zones and told civilians to go there. but it is accused of shelling the no fire zones, including hospitals. the government repeatedly denies that.
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this person was a journalist in the war zone who fled to the uk one the conflict ended. what is your worst memory of the war? >> i witnessed an incident or the hospital was bombed. there were clear signs on the hospital roof that it was a hospital. regardless of the signs, the hospital was bombed. a number of people died in front of my eyes. >> did you try to send messages to the world about what was happening? >> i kept sending messages, photos of civilian casualties, reports of hospital bombings to my contacts in the media and requested a spread the word and tell the world to intervene and stop the war. >> many more just suffered in silence. >> i was locked up in a small dark room where i was beat with wires, batons, and a plastic pipes. i was beaten with cigarette butts and they raped me.
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>> this is the story of many tamils, forced to work by the tigers, detained by the government. the report says the u.n. repeatedly condemned the tigers for serious human rights violations, but largely avoided mention of the government house responsibility. senior official said this was because the information cannot be verified. but the report says the information had been verified to a good standard. the report said in the final stages of the bloody conflict, the when-issued only one statement condemning both sides. there was also reluctant to publish daschle figures. why did this happen? the report explains it this way. it's his decision making across the u.n. was dominated by a culture of trade offs, choosing not to speak out against a government that was in its report intimidating u.n. staff as the only way to increase
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humanitarian access. in the final stages of the war, the government set up a called welfare villages for displaced people emerging from the war zone. in reality, they were military internment camps to screen people suspected of involvement with the tamil tigers. the u.n. confronted a dilemma. they had no independent access to applications with persistent allegations of human rights abuses, but decided there was an imperative to provide urgent food and medical supplies. but the report notes the considerable consternation within the aid community over this involvement. civilians? did it, to -- civilians question that it too.
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>> it was not very helpful because we were kept there as prisoners of the government. it is almost like somebody visiting prison and supplying suites to the prisoners. it would not survive -- it cannot save our lives and would not guarantee any protection force. >> the report highlights the positive role that some u.n. staff on the ground and the secretary general, but it is categorical. there was systemic failure. everything from the when sent to this mission and its machinery was at fault. edward is a former senior u.n. official that chairs the campaign for human rights and justice. >> there was no u.n. force in sri lanka, but the workers were there to help the population and a left at the moment when the
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population needed a more than ever. the government wanted them out of the way because they did not want any bad to to see what happened to. >> if there was a systemic failure, is there any hope that it can be different? >> many of us think now and some said at the time there was not a responsibility to protect sri lanka, but it did not get the type of publicity we got in libya when colonel gaddafi was threatening to destroy benghazi. sri lanka was destroyed field by field, a tree by tree, hospital by hospital, and we did not get that reaction. of course, they don't have oil and they're not situated on the mediterranean. u.n. secretary shouldst dick up and say this is not good enough. you may have power interests, but your also supposed to reform international law at all certain principles.
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>> the report points out in the last months of the war, there was not a single formal meeting of the u.n. security council. but the engagement by u.n. headquarters with member states was heavily influenced by what they perceive to member states wanted to hear rather than by what they needed to know if they worked to respond. the end of the civil war unfolded in a war that largely looked away -- in a world that largely looked away. now the u.n. wants to learn lessons from the conflict as it confronts new crises and places like syria. and we're told that it now wants to act on this report. but the war will not end until there is a proper reckoning.
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many say that means an independent international investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity. that would demand a kind of courage and commitment that we now know the u.n. did not show through the years of battle. subsequent to that broadcast, the one has published a report and admitted that fail to protect citizens. the u.s. ambassador to the country said it was nonsense to say a small country could intimidate the u.n. workers and students in more than 20 countries across the european union took part in strikes to show their disgust at cuts and austerity measures. the largest protests were in mediterranean countries where the budget cuts will make their deepest impact. in spain, a more emotional issue. some people are being forced from their homes in a wave of
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defections. -- of evictions. we have this report from madrid. >> again they came, from the factories, the public sector, and their homes. some who marched were from the nearly 6 million unemployed. some were pensioners. this is the second general strike in spain this year. it wanted to protest against government austerity and to show their anger. here, in a suburb of madrid, the most extreme consequence, losing their home. inside this block, three generations, six people on the brink of being affected. the police came, the bailiffs are there, the protestors lard if you gather -- the protestors gathered. earlier this week, spanish bank said the expulsions of people
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who were the most need it would be suspended. this came under pressure after two suicides were linked to a fictions. -- linked to evictions. >> it is almost certain that this eviction will not be carried out. then, celebration. the official responsible has not turned out. the family was immensely relieved. >> i'm really happy and i'm nervous. >> but when i asked what happens next, she had no idea. the bank could go back to court and get a new eviction date. this is the only way they have
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family now. she cannot pay the mortgage of 1300 euros every month. victory inebrating a this neighborhood, but nobody knows what will happen next, and nobody knows if this is the pattern going forward, if you work evictions, fewer repossessions. if so, what would be the consequence of that two spanish banks and spain itself? spain has to make its mortgage law more lenient to bring it in line with the rest of the european union. if there is a freeze on its fictions, some say that could have an impact on banks. >> it will increase the debt of the banks, but that is not the worst problem the banks have. it could probably be solved. then we have to think that going on with evictions will cause serious problems, also in
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economic terms. we're talking about people who lost their jobs in 2009. this is just a gathering storm that will worsen in the coming years. >> in 10% of spanish families, both parents are out of work. even those with one income are worried. beatrice has finished her temporary contract. her husband works in the unpredictable building industry. they're worried about the future. >> at any point, if you could lose your job. there will be a moment at which we will have to choose between paying the mortgage and eating. >> it is a difficult situate
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asian. the government is making it tougher for us. with to salaries, you really struggle. if one salary goes, it is even worse. >> union claims the turn that house been strong. these demonstrations have been taking place across the country, not just in madrid. the police say there have been over 100 arrests during the day. it is late in the capital, but some people still have an appetite for protest. they are on their way to another demonstration. their mood was defiant. we will do it again, this english teacher told me. >> we have to go to the streets. we have to be a group of people, not just individuals. we have to fight for our rights. >> the government says that it will not change its policies. the country's current economic
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position leaves little room for maneuver. more strikes and protests seem certain. >> that is all for this week. from all of us, goodbye. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding for this presentation was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce.
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we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> bbc news
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